By: Staff Writer
A quick glance at the calendar shows another Election Day fast approaching. Television commercials, radio advertisements, and yard signs provide constant reminders of a day that will come and go for many Americans–except maybe the candidates who might win just enough of the scant few votes cast to claim their seats on local councils and boards, on state legislatures, and even in Congress. Despite the apathy of the typical citizen when it comes to non-Presidential elections, one group stands out as at least slightly more proactive and civic-minded than average. This group consists of absentee voters–some of whom voted this year as early as the 15th of September. While many people are aware of this practice that allows citizens to vote without having to visit a polling place on the day of the election, most people know little about all the different absentee-like options available in the 50 states.
Indiana provides two versions of absentee voting to citizens–the traditional “no-excuse” mail-in absentee ballot and the newer, seemingly oxymoronic, “in-person” absentee method. Importantly, Indiana’s photo ID laws do not apply to absentee-by-mail voters. With two different methods available, it seems many citizens would take advantage of the convenience and ease of the process. But who votes absentee anyway? Luckily, I happen to know of at least one group of about 60 people in a small northern Indiana town who would not miss this opportunity to cast a ballot. These citizens are residents of one of the 511 nursing homes in the state of Indiana–a state with 4.4 million registered voters as of 2012. And while 60 out of 4.4 million may seem insignificant, it is helpful to remember that, especially in smaller races, the difference between winning and losing may depend on a number not far off from 60 votes. This fact combined with Gallup estimates showing older voters accounted for 36% of the electorate in 2012 (the largest generational group) provides sufficient incentive for local politicians to make at least one campaign stop at the nearest nursing facility. It turns out that is exactly what Indiana District 22 GOP candidate Curt Nisly did.